Famed T. rex ‘Sue’ getting a makeover at Field Museum in Chicago

(Reuters) – The world’s biggest T. rex is getting ready for a cutting-edge makeover.

The Field Museum in Chicago said on Wednesday it will take down and remount the 40-1/2-foot-long (12.3-meter) Tyrannosaurus nicknamed Sue, perhaps the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil, in a way that embodies the latest understanding of this ferocious Cretaceous Period predator.

The big T. rex will move to a new exhibition space in the museum, while a cast of the skeleton of the largest-known dinosaur, Patagotitan mayorum, will take the spot Sue now occupies in the museum’s Stanley Field Hall.

Patagotitan, a long-necked, four-legged plant-eater that was 122 feet (37.2 meters) long and weighed 70 tons, lived in Argentina 100 million years ago, more than 30 million years before T. rex stalked western North America. The biggest land animal on record, it was a member of a dinosaur group called titanosaurs.

The museum next spring will unveil the fiberglass Patagotitan skeleton, which is being cast from fossils of seven Patagotitan individuals, and for two years will display some of the genuine fossils, including an 8-foot (2.4 meter) thighbone.

Named for the woman who discovered the fossils in South Dakota in 1990, Sue is the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed. The museum bought the fossils at auction for $8.4 million.

Sue will be taken down in February and put up again with noteworthy changes in anatomy and stance in its new exhibition hall in spring 2019, museum scientists said.

“We are making several adjustments to the skeleton to reflect new and improved knowledge,” said paleontologist Pete Makovicky, the museum’s associate curator of dinosaurs.

The most striking change, Makovicky said, will be the addition of gastralia, bones resembling an additional set of ribs spanning the belly that may have provided structural support to help the dinosaur breathe. Adding these bones will illustrate just how massive Sue was and that it boasted a bulging belly, he added.

The size of two dinosaurs, the Argentine titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum and the North American predator Tyrannosaurus rex are compared with a human figure for scale, in this handout illustration obtained by Reuters August 29, 2017. The Field Museum/Handout via REUTERS

The scientists concluded that the bone mounted as Sue’s wishbone was misidentified in 2000 and they will replace it with the dinosaur’s actual wishbone, or furcula, the fused collar bones typical of meat-eating…

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